Thursday, 28 July 2011

Breaking News: Statement from Hulme Festival organisers

We have just received this message regarding significant changes to the Hulme Festival. Its expected there will be more information forthcoming soon.

"We are sorry to announce that one of the licenses for the Hulme Festival has been revoked. This means that only those activities planned by Zion Arts will be going ahead. The following parts are being cancelled: the Main Stage, Roots Tent, Soapbox Acoustic stage, Holistic Therapies, Urban Activities, Crafty Corner and the Food Court.

The Zion will still be hosting a 1940's themed afternoon. There will be performances from the Swing Commanders, the Zion Arts Young Performers and Borhan (hip-hop pyramid) together with entertainments from Venture Arts and a Story Corner. While we would like to encourage you to attend this event we must warn you that the maximum capacity of the venue is 500 people and, as such, you may be turned away on the day.

We wish to extend an apology and thanks to everyone who has been preparing for the event. Obviously we are massively disappointed that the organisers and Council Members have taken this decision. Please believe we have made every attempt to find alternative means of putting on the festival.

We have every hope of seeing the Hulme Festival return at a later date and are currently working with the Council to determine whether this is possible.

While we share your disappointment, we must encourage you not to take action into your own hands.

If you wish to register your enthusiasm for having the Hulme Festival at a later date please sign this petition."

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Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Hulme Festival 2011: Saturday July 30th 2011, 12pm to 10pm

The newly resurrected Hulme Festival: Saturday July 30th 2011, 12pm to 10pm

The free family-friendly festival, at HULME PARK, will include:

  • live music across 3 stages
  • spoken word and hip-hop battles
  • food and textile workshops at Venture Arts
  • youth theatre performance
  • art and craft stalls
  • kid's area and storytelling at the Pagoda
  • the Zion Centre's 100 year anniversary tea-party
  • a chill out and bar area
  • craft activities
  • reiki / massage / holistic therapies
...and more.

There'll be a whole area dedicated to holistic therapies, 'The Kitchen' with food and food education, 'The Lounge' chill out space and bar, as well as 'Kids Zone' playground, and a full music programme with local acts covering every genre.

For more information:

If you want to get involved in any way please email:

**Please note**
Hulme Festival is a Family Friendly event, and Hulme is part of a Designated Public Places Order - this means no alcohol is to be consumed outdoors... Please only drink alcohol bought from the provider on site, and in the designated space

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Saturday, 16 July 2011

The Manchester Housing Crisis

There is a real crisis developing in Manchester, one that has been growing for some years and which shows no signs of resolution: decent housing for its citizens.

(Image: David Oates)

The facts

The number of households in Manchester has increased by 37,549 in the last ten years whilst there have been 24,000 new homes built in the same period, mostly apartments. In 2010, there were 16,000 households on Manchester Council’s housing register – 7,000 more than in 2001. These are Manchester Council’s statistics.

However, according to recent official government statistics, the number of households on the waiting list was actually 22,448, a much larger number amounting to no less than 11.1% of total households in the city.

Whatever number ones takes, it is clear that in the last decade there has been a steep rise in housing need in Manchester. Nor is this pressure likely to diminish. The Council estimates that there will be another 56,000 households in Manchester in twenty years times. This is the crisis.

The scandal

At the moment, the Council is building just 200 new council homes in Charlestown, Blackley and West Gorton whilst in the last two years only 255 empty houses have been brought back into use. Meanwhile, in December 2009, there were 13,760 empty homes across all tenures in Manchester, 8040 of these had been empty for more than 6 months.

The expectation is that this number will increase given the number of new private blocks completed but unsold. In addition, Manchester is littered with uncompleted apartment blocks, effectively abandoned by their developers in the wake of the banking crisis and consequent recession. As the Council itself states they have “a number of tools and legal powers to tackle empty homes” but they fail to use them. As noted above, 255 empty houses have been brought back into use in two years. So, that will clear the current waiting list by 2187 at present rates.

It is clear that the rapid increase in housing waiting lists in Manchester coincides with a housing price boom which has led to many households desperate for decent homes being simply priced out of the market. The Council still believes that “home ownership is achievable for households on an average city income” whilst at the same time knowing that “the average wage of city residents in 2009 was £371pw” that is below £20,000 per annum.

According to the Index of Multiple Deprivation, a national statistic which is an accepted measure for household deprivation, 228,235 of Manchester residents live in the worst 10% most deprived neighbourhoods nationally – 51,155 within worst 1%. The Index suggests that some 62% of our households live in the worst 10% in terms of deprivation.

Hulme falls comfortably inside the list of the 1% most deprived wards in the country. To suggest that the ‘average’ Hulme household can afford to buy a home at current prices is simply offensive.

Manchester City Council Responses

So what does Manchester City Council suggest should be done? Their full list of solutions

  • Using our land and assets to work with private sector and institutional investors to meet demand for new homes
  • Supporting developers to overcome barriers to building new homes
  • Looking for solutions that do not depend on public subsidy
  • Tackling the unsustainable use of energy in our housing
  • Finding new solutions for those who wish to become home owners

(Source: Building Manchester's neighbourhoods: Housing strategy 2011 to 2021)

It would be difficult to devise a weaker response to the crisis.

Manchester Council has become reliant on the private sector for answering Manchester’s housing problems. No one doubts that there have been difficulties in financing social housing development, but Manchester’s Labour council has been extreme in its response.

Once, the Labour-led Council was a beacon for providing decent social housing but in recent years it has abandoned this, trying to outsource its housing department and wherever possible simply ditch its social housing responsibilities.

The Green View

The Hulme Green Party believes in a Green New Deal for social housing. It believes that building new houses would not only provide decent homes for Hulme families but would also provide work for unemployed construction workers and help lift the region out of recession.

It believes that the existence of empty homes alongside tens of thousands of families on a housing waiting list is immoral particularly when the Council possess the legal power to take over empty property vacant for a long time.

It believes that the Council should takeover and complete abandoned apartment blocks. When quizzed about their failure to do this, one councillor replied that such apartments did not fit the housing needs of most people on the waiting list. It would be interesting to see just how many of these applicants would turn down a two-bedroom apartment in a new block as ‘unsuitable’.

We challenge our Labour councillors to come up with proposals for solving Hulme’s housing crisis with similar positive proposals.

Or would they respond with the vague clich├ęs which characterise Labour’s housing ‘policy’ for Manchester.

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Saturday, 9 July 2011

Keeping the Hulme Mural...

The Hulme Mural is a vast and vibrant public artwork in Hulme Manchester, comprising six 14 foot panels of sculpted clay along the Hulme Library wall.

It was designed and made by Hulme Urban Potters – a collective of students and tutors at the Hulme Adult Education Centre to mark the turn of the century, and was completed and installed in 2002. The mural depicts some of the key moments in the history of this important Manchester community, and has become a local landmark.

It was unveiled by actor and comedian Johnny Vegas saying: ”I think it is a really important piece of work that promotes local history and a true sense of pride for the people and place it represents. It’s amazing.”

The then City Council Chief Executive member for Culture and Leisure Glynn Evans said: “I’m highly delighted that Hulme Urban Potters have entrusted this fantastic piece of work to Manchester Libraries. The Mural is a celebration of Hulme and it is quite right that it should remain at the heart of the local community”.

Less than ten years later, the community now fears for the future of the Hulme Mural. Consultations are underway about the future of Manchester’s library service, and there are fears that if the Hulme library closes, the building will be sold or worse still, demolished.
Johnny Vegas has now added his voice to the campaign to save the mural saying: “I’d be really disappointed if the mural was damaged or lost due to the closure of the library. It’s a fantastic piece of art work that should be enjoyed by the local community for many years to come.”

Please add your voice to the campaign to save the Hulme Mural by signing the petition.

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Friday, 8 July 2011

Hulme and Moss Side Market future in doubt

News is filtering out that the future of Hulme and Moss Side Market is under threat.

A recently set up Facebook group, ‘Save Hulme Market Community Protest’ expressed the concerns of many of the traders and members of the public.

According to the posts, the 10 year old market, owned by French company Geraud, has been sold to B&M.

This news means that the Market as it stands may disappear and prospects for the Hulme traders seem gloomy.

But the traders are not taking these reports lying down, with plans build support from local people, launch a petition and get assurances from the new owners that the Market will remain.

Local trader Leana Dixon-Rowe said ‘If things carry on we will be pushed out by the big businesses and will be left with nowhere affordable to trade from.

Hulme's 'larger than life' trader and personality Candy Scent said 'The mere thought of Hulme Market's closure makes my chest hurt'.

People are urged to join the facebook group as a first step and contact their Council representatives.

Deyika Nzeribe from the Hulme Greens said ‘This is surprising news, we need to confirm the new owner’s plans for the future. Its important that Hulme and Moss Side’s local businesses are supported and encouraged to grow. We hope this view is shared by B&M.’

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Tuesday, 5 July 2011

MGP Public Event: Why Equality is a Green Issue

Manchester Green Party is pleased to announce that the next monthly public meeting discussion will be ‘Why Equality is a Green Issue’.

The North West coordinator of the Equality Trust, Mary Curran, will be talking about ‘The Spirit Level’, by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett.

Thursday July 14th 2011, 7pm - 9pm

Friend's Meeting House, Mount Street, Manchester.

So, what is the book about?


Physical Health -People in more equal societies live longer, a smaller proportion of children die in infancy and self-rated health is better.

Mental Health - People in more equal societies are far less likely to experience mental illness.

Drug Abuse - People in more equal societies are less likely to use illegal drugs.

Education - Children do better at school in more equal societies.

Imprisonment - Unequal societies are harsher, they imprison a higher proportion of people.

Social Mobility - There is more social mobility in more equal societies.

and several more indicators.

And from the authors

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